Chinese New Year or the first day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar is probably the most important holiday in Chinese Culture. Such importance is evident in the fact that people in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan take from a minimum of three days to one week vacations during this time. It is a time for homecoming, family gatherings and new life.
The celebration of Chinese New Year centers upon the importance of family and closed family ties. Like with most Chinese traditions, a lot of symbolism is placed on the selection of food during special occasions.
Symbolism and Feng Shui plays a vital role in Chinese culture and it is the same for Chinese New Year recipes. Feng Shui is a Chinese system of geomancy generally used to balance the energies of heaven and earth to improve one’s life. The dragon Chinese new year singapore and the phoenix figure prominently in Chinese culture and folklore. The dragon represents the yang or male energy while the phoenix represents the yin or female energy. Combined, these two creature represent balance and harmony, two highly revered values. Thus, many Chinese New Year recipes will often be named for these two creatures. To represent these two creatures, chicken or specifically the feet, often called phoenix feet, and lobster is often cooked.
Chinese New Year recipes also always calls for whole foods to be cooked such as a whole chicken, whole fish, whole duck or whole suckling pigs. This is to symbolize family unity and togetherness.
In western cultures, a whole fish is rarely served during New Year but is almost always seen on a Chinese dinner table during Chinese New Year. A fish symbolizes prosperity because the pronunciation of the Chinese word for fish sounds similar to the word surplus or excess. When a fish is served, it symbolizes the wish for the next year’s harvest to be bountiful and abundant.
Like in most Asian cultures, the noodle also plays an important role in Chinese New Year recipes. It is a fervent wish of everyone to have a happy and long life as long as the strands of noodles served during the meal. Noodles are usually served very long as cutting it is a sign of bad luck.
Fruits also play a colorful part in the festive meals. Fruits such as tangerines, oranges, pomelos and pineapples are highly sought after during the New Year period because their Chinese names sound very similar to auspicious words. Tangerines and orange sound very similar to luck and wealth in Chinese while pineapples sound very similar to the word to prosper.